Baseball season opens tonight
VLEUTEN / HOOFDDORP / ROTTERDAM / THE HAGUE (Neth.) -
Tonight, Thursday, April 5, is Opening Night in the Dutch Major League.
Several dignitaries are lined up to throw out the ceremonial first pitches in the coming days.
Tonight, eight teams start the new season to decide who will be crowned as the 91st baseball champion of the Netherlands.
Tonight, four Head Coaches will start their first season with a new team, being Dino Anasagasti (Sparta-Feyenoord), Dave Daniels (AamigoO ADO Lakers), Rudy Dirksen and Frank Koene (UVV).
From this quartet, Dirksen is the lone coach with no big league-experience.
Anasagasti already was in charge of his team in the last part of last season (he took over on July 13), but this will be the first season he starts as Head Coach.
Koene last coached in the big league in 2009.
Daniels last coached in the big league in 2005, but made his debut as Head Coach in the highest division in 1989.
Tonight, four veteran coaches will be at the helm again of the teams that dominated the league in the last several seasons, being Jan Collins (DOOR Neptunus), Eelco Jansen (Corendon Kinheim), Robert Klaver (Vaessen Pioniers) and Charles Urbanus (L&D Amsterdam Pirates).
(Ph: Henk Seppen)
Since 2007, L&D Amsterdam Pirates, Vaessen Pioniers, DOOR Neptunus and Corendon Kinheim have qualified for the Play-Offs in all five seasons since.
Tonight, UVV is the lone team that never qualified for the Play-Offs since the format was introduced in 1989.
All other seven teams have played in the Play-Offs, but the last appearance for ADO was in 2006, while HCAW and Sparta-Feyenoord last reached the final four in 2005.
Tonight, DOOR Neptunus is the lone team that have qualified for all 23 previous Play-Offs since 1989, Corendon Kinheim is in second place with 19 appearances.
Tonight, L&D Amsterdam Pirates starts the season as reigning champion, having won the Holland Series last year against Vaessen Pioniers.
Pirates was the 90th Dutch champion ever.
In 1922, another team from Amsterdam, Quick, was the very first Dutch champion and will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year, being the oldest baseball club in Europe.
Tonight, a ceremonial first pitch only will be thrown at the first home game of DOOR Neptunus in Rotterdam.
Before their game against Sparta-Feyenoord, the first ball will be thrown by Antoinette Laan, the Alderman of Sports for the Municipality of Rotterdam.
This is part of the official transfer of the Neptunus Family Stadium to the Municipality.
(Ph: Marco Stoovelaar)
Coming weekend, more first ceremonial first pitches are scheduled.
At Rotterdam, on Saturday, Fred Teeven, State Secretary for Security and Justice will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the first home game of Sparta-Feyenoord vs. DOOR Neptunus.
Also attending the season opener at Sparta-Feyenoord are the Ministers Plenipotentiary of Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, Edwin Abath, Sheldry Osepa and Mathias Voges.
At Amsterdam, a ceremonial first pitch will be thrown on Saturday before the first home game of L&D Amsterdam Pirates vs. UVV, but it couldn't be confirmed yet who it will do.
At Haarlem, a ceremonial first pitch is planned on Saturday before the first home game of Corendon Kinheim vs. Vaessen Pioniers, but who it will be is not known yet.
At Bussum, former player Clive Mendes will throw the first pitch on Saturday before the first home game of Mr. Cocker HCAW vs. AamigoO ADO Lakers.
At Vleuten, on Sunday, Utrecht Mayor Aleid Wolfsen will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game UVV vs. L&D Amsterdam Pirates.
(Ph: Frans van Elst)
At Hoofddorp, on Sunday, before the game of Vaessen Pioniers vs. Corendon Kinheim, the first pitch will be thrown by Hans Zuurbier, Director of the Municipality of Haarlemmermeer, and Tom Haagmans of sponsor Vaessen.
At The Hague, before the game of AamigoO ADO Lakers vs. Mr. Cocker HCAW on Sunday, the first pitch will be thrown by former soccer-player Reggie Blinker.
Tonight, all four games can be followed again via a live play-by-play.
Go to this page for the play-by-play, select your game and enjoy!
The data will be entered again by members of the valuable corps of Official Scorers.
By the way, Feiko Drost and Marco Stoovelaar, as well as Softball Scorer Ben Goorts, will be active in their record-extending 36th season this year as Official Scorer in the Dutch big league.
Talking about a valuable corps, the third team on the field of course is that of the Umpires.
This group is led again by veteran umpire Fred van Groningen Schinkel, who on Thursday-evening will start his record-extending 41st season in the Dutch big league.
Van Groningen Schinkel will be at first base tonight at the game between AamigoO ADO Lakers and Mr. Cocker HCAW.
Tonight, the eight Opening Day Rosters contain a total of 179 players, including 53 rookies.
Mr. Cocker HCAW and UVV have the biggest rosters with 25 players each, while DOOR Neptunus and Sparta-Feyenoord have the smallest with 19.
The most rookies are on the roster of HCAW, 14.
Last years top-4 have 15 rookies combined, last years bottom-4 have 38 combined.